Those strong, stout trees in your yard may look tough and resilient, but even they need a little help throughout the year. Luckily, fall is a great time to give your trees some TLC. As our trees prepare for winter dormancy, they send all of their energy down to their roots. This time of year is all about strengthening their roots and preparing for winter. These fall tree care tips can help set your trees up to thrive.
Keep Your Trees Hydrated
Making sure your trees get all the water they need helps ensure they will be around for generations to come. Usually, trees are able to get enough water from rainfall, but when rain is sparse, we may need to supplement it with manual watering.
When trees start to go dormant, they drop their leaves and focus all of their resources down to the roots. Strong root growth and rapid nutrient absorption help the tree strengthen itself before the frigid winter months. You can encourage root growth by ensuring your trees have enough water. When rain is sparse, it’s important to water your trees manually to ensure they get about one inch of water per week.
Protect Your Trees From the Wind, Snow, and Cold
Here in Maryland, winters can be pretty brutal. Ice, snow, dry wind, and freezing temperatures mean your trees need a little extra protection this fall. Here are a few fall tree care tips to protecting your trees from the elements.
There’s no way around it, adding mulch to the base of your trees is one of the best things you can do. A layer of mulch protects the roots of your trees and shrubs in a number of ways. It insulates your roots against fluctuating temperatures, prevents nutrient-stealing weeds from growing, retains moisture, and even protects your trees from lawnmower damage.
When choosing the best mulch to put around your trees and shrubs, it’s best to choose something organic. Shredded bark is the best choice. When adding mulch, never use more than three inches and avoid piling it up against the trunk. If the mulch is piled up against the trunk of your tree, then it’ll be more accessible to tree-damaging pests, like voles.
Wrap Your Trees
During the winter, dry winds, heavy snow and ice, and freezing temperatures can cause damage to our trees and shrubs. One type of damage, in particular, can be especially damaging: sunscald. Sunscald is a form of tissue damage caused by fluctuating temperatures on the bark of trees. Throughout the day, the sun heats up the bark, causing the tissue to become active. When the sun sets or goes behind a building, the freezing temperatures return and the activated tissue is damaged. The damage can be extreme and can even result in tree death.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to protect our trees. Wrap your trees with burlap or light-colored tree wrap. The light color will reflect the sun and keep your trees at a more consistent temperature while helping to retain moisture. This protects your trees from moisture-stealing winds and the scalding sun.
Protect Your Trees From Deer and Voles
The wind, snow, and cold aren’t the only things damaging our trees this winter. Damage from animals, like deer and voles, can be devastating to trees of all ages. These tips from On The Green Inc. will help protect your trees from animals this winter.
Whether it be from rubbing antlers or voracious eating, deer can decimate the trees in your yard. Protecting your trees from deer can be pretty difficult. Not only can they clear a 12-foot fence, but they are also persistent and intelligent. Deer deterrents usually only work for a short time, until they realize there’s no danger.
The best way to protect your trees from hungry deer is with a physical barrier. An 8-foot fence is usually enough to dissuade the deer from invading your property. For young trees, you can use a wire cage, but a starving and persistent deer can still find a way around those. It could be a good idea to invest in a deer repellent, but your best bet will be to use a combination of defenses.
One of the most destructive pests for trees is actually very small. If not controlled over the winter, voles are capable of causing enough damage to kill a tree. These tiny rodents burrow through tall grass under the snow. If they find their way to a tree, that’s when the damage begins. Voles chew through the layers of bark which are responsible for transporting water and nutrients from the roots to the top of the tree. If they chew a strip of bark around the entire circumference of a tree (tree girdling), then everything above the strip will die.
Preventing tree girdling from voles is actually pretty easy. Wrap the base of your trunk with a tree wrap, making sure it extends past the snowline and two inches below the soil. Make sure you keep mulch from piling up against your tree as this will give voles easy access to the tree. Finally, make your yard inhospitable to voles by keeping your lawn mowed and remove any piles of leaves and overgrown brush.
Protect Your Trees With Dormant Oil
As temperatures continue to cool down, pests will start looking for a place to overwinter. For tree-damaging insects like scale, aphids, and the dreaded spotted lanternfly, this means a nice sturdy tree. Scale, aphids, and spotted lanternflies overwinter on the bark of trees, where they wait until the warmer temperatures of spring return. Once things heat up, the insects hatch from their overwintering eggs and start destroying your trees. Before long, you’ll have an expensive and devastating infestation on your hands. Luckily, there’s a way to stop these insects before they emerge: dormant oil.
Dormant oil, or horticultural oil, is an insecticide spray that’s applied to a dormant tree. This service is best when applied at the end of fall and in the early spring. The dormant oil spray is a viscous oil that coats any overwintering insects on your tree. This oil cuts off the insects’ air supply and suffocates them while they overwinter. Dormant oil will help you get control of tree-damaging pests before they become a problem, allowing your trees to grow stress-free in the spring.
Deep Root Fertilization
One of the best ways to ensure your trees get all of the nutrients they need is with deep root fertilization. Deep root fertilization, or deep root feeding, is the process of injecting a high-pressure mix of nutrients, water, and beneficial microbes directly into the root zone of your trees. Because the nutrients are injected directly into the root zone, you won’t have to worry about feeding weeds or other plants. The slow-release nutrients ensure your trees get exactly what they need when they need it.
Get Tree Care Help From the Experts
Protecting your trees is a year-round job, but with consistent tree care services, you will make sure your trees stay healthy and strong for years to come. Investing in tree and shrub care services from On The Green, Inc. is the best option. Our seasonal tree care services aim to protect your trees from pests and diseases while providing them with the nutrients they need, when they need them.